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Knitters have a yarn to tell on Ravelry.com

Screen shot 2013-02-20 at 7.39.11 PMLooking to knit or crochet booties for a new baby? A hat for your cat? A sweater for the dog?

Chances are good that you can find the perfect pattern on Ravelry.com. You have to sign up for a free membership before you can use the site, but trust me, it’s worth it. Packed full of features and simple to use, you can easily spend hours here. Let’s take a look at how it works:

Your notebook

As a member of Ravelry, you have access to a range of patterns but there’s more to it than that. Your notebook is where your library is, as well as a link to your favourites. There’s a “stash” option, where you can list your yarn by name, weight and fibre so can sell, trade or keep track of what you have. There’s a queue for the projects you haven’t gotten to yet and even a place to list your needles (which can then be printed as a card to keep in your pocket). Purchased patterns are kept here, too.

Patterns

The search function is amazing, with numerous ways to filter your results, whether it’s knitting or crochet, type of project, technique, yarn, the size of your needles or hook and much more. Some patterns are free; others can be bought through the site or found in other places. Your search results will show as thumbnails—simply click one to be brought to a page where you’ll find such information as size, yarn weight and needle size.

If it’s available online, there will be a link, if it’s from a book or magazine, the title will be there. At this point, you have several options: add it to your library for later, put it in your favourites, or add it to your queue. There are tabs to click that will show comments, yarn ideas and pictures of other people’s completed versions of the project, among other things.

Friends and groups

Ravelry is more than just a website, it’s a community. If you know someone’s username, you can send a friend request. Ravelry will also look at the patterns in your favourites or library and suggest friends based on how many you have in common. There are groups for just about anything and it’s easy to find help if you get stuck on a pattern. You can join a Knit Along (KAL), where everyone does the same project and posts pictures of their progress as well as tips. Want a little mystery in your life? How about joining a KAL that only gives you a piece of the pattern at a time—even you won’t know what the completed project looks like until the end.

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